Theory of Creativity

By: Yitzchok Saftlas

Safety first might be the best advice if you’re behind the wheel of a car, but if you want to test drive a creative marketing or advertising concept, you’ve got to take it for a spin.

Playing it safe is the absolute worst thing you can do, says Linda Kaplan Thaler, who was inducted last year into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Linda is the former chairman of Publicis, an advertising group whose blue-chip client roster includes: P&G, Nestle, Merck and Pfizer, and is the creative genius behind many world-famous advertising campaigns, such as the “I don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid,” and “Kodak Moments.”

Perhaps one of her biggest success stories – one she shared with my listeners on a recent edition of Mind Your Business on 77WABC – was the campaign she devised for AFLAC, an acronym for American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

Few Americans had ever heard of AFLAC before Linda won their account in 1999, even though AFLAC was a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide.

AFLAC’s advertising had been a flop and company awareness was hovering at a barely perceptible 3%. The company was intent on staying the course with their emotional commercials to try to worry people into running out and buying insurance to cover the unexpected. Linda knew that to win AFLAC’s advertising account, and turn them into a household name, she was the one who had to do the unexpected.

With negotiations at an impasse, Linda asked AFLAC’s CEO Dan Amos for a private meeting, and asked him one simple question: What keeps you awake at night? Amos replied that he loses sleep over the fact that even his relatives don’t know the name of the company.

Linda went back to her office, and the drawing board. At a brainstorming session, her creative director, Eric David quipped that AFLAC rhymed with quack and conjured up visions of ducks. 

“I said: That’s it! That’s how we’re going to make America remember this name!”

Her copywriters composed a brilliant script, with two 40-year old men munching sandwiches on a park bench, where one asks the other to define supplemental insurance. A duck from the nearby pond waddles out of the water and quacks a one word answer: AFLAC. 

Initially, Dan wasn’t impressed, but Linda was so sure that she shelled $35,000 out of her company’s coffers to test the message. That was bundle for her young company at the time, but the ad soon broke the bank. In two years, consumer awareness rose from 3% to 96% and today, the duck even graces the AFLAC logo at company headquarters.

Linda is never deterred by initial resistance. “The best ideas are the bad ideas that you turned upside down,” she says. Linda has three tips to help overcome that natural and understandable resistance:

1. Go for a Soft Approach

“I call it the Yes sandwich,” Linda says. “It’s much easier to get what you want that way. So when the client says, ‘that’s ridiculous,’ I say, you’re right, it’s a little insane but let’s just push back for a minute and see why this particular insanity makes some rational sense. Then go back to pushing for it.”

2. Let the Client Take Credit

President Harry Truman once said you can accomplish anything in your lifetime as long as you’re willing to not take credit for any of it. “If I throw out an idea, and the client says, that’s outrageous, I’ll say, what do you think will make it better? When they give me their idea, I’ll say: great idea, why didn’t I think of that!”

3. Don’t be afraid to fail

James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, developed 5,126 prototypes over 15 years until he found one that worked, eventually amassing a net worth of $5 billion. He once said he got so much more innovation out of each failure along the way. “So we tell clients: If an ad doesn’t go viral, no one will see it, so you never have to worry that it will be seen as a failure.”

If you too hope to make the Advertising Hall of Fame one day, get the client thinking: “That’s nuts. That’s crazy. And then, yes, that could be brilliant!

Bottom Line Action Step: Share a great idea with a client and let them make it even better.

Yitzchok Saftlas is the founder and president of Bottom Line Marketing Group, a premier marketing agency helping hundreds of corporate, political and non-profit clients build their brands since 1992. Yitzchok’s new book: “So, What’s The Bottom Line” contains timeless advice for marketers, seasoned executives, and entrepreneurs. His weekly business radio show, “Mind Your Business” is aired on 77WABC radio every Sunday night. Yitzchok can be reached at ys@BottomLineMG.com

Today’s CMO: Part Artist, Part Scientist

By: Drew Neisser, Founder & CEO of Renegade

My new book, The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing, features interviews with sixty-four masters of their craft, including some who lean heavily to the science side and others who employ an artist’s intuitive touch.  In this short post, I’ll introduce you to two “scientists” who have harnessed the power of data to drive sales and minimize the unpredictability of their efforts and two “artists” who rely on their intuition and place big marketing bets that the data doesn’t necessarily direct.

“The last three years of my career have seen an amazing transformation from what it means to be a marketer.” Tim McDermott

As the current CMO of the Philadelphia 76ers and the former CMO of the Philadelphia Eagles, Tim McDermott knows a thing or two about marketing sports teams, especially ones that haven’t always performed well on the court or field. Seeking to build multi-dimensional fan relationships, Tim has made data a major part of his marketing strategy.  As he puts it, “We’re heavily invested in infrastructure, software and human capital in order to re-engineer what we’re doing on the data science side.” While this is very much a work in progress, Tim acknowledges they can now take a far more sophisticated, data-driven approach.

“At Visa the ultimate measure of success for our marketing is ROI—our ability to drive the business.” Antonio Lucio

When I first interviewed Antonio Lucio, he was deep into his tenure as CMO at Visa, where he prescribed a three-tiered measurement approach. Lucio’s short-term metrics included reach and impact with recall being a proxy for reach and “usage lift” the gauge for impact. Lucio’s third tier was long-term impact, which he defined “as lift in our brand equity and our ability to influence consumer behavior longer-term.”  And while all of the above are critical effectiveness measures for just about any brand, Lucio never stropped looking for others, noting, “Our key performance metrics evolve to address changing dynamics in the industry.

“Creativity and innovation aren’t just about another page in a magazine or another billboard with clever imagery or copy.” – Lee Applbaum

When Lee Applbaum became CMO of the iconic beverage brand Patrón Spirits, he took an admittedly conservative “stewardship” approach to his new duties. Not wanting to screw up a good thing with the master brand, Lee directed his team toward new products and “reimagining the conversation in our category.”  The launch of line extension Roca Patrón presented just such an opportunity to disrupt via events, social, digital and mobile.  His “Roca on the Rails” campaign featured a fully-restored, opulent 1927 railcar offering bespoke dinners and tastings with celebrated chefs.  This unique experience started a wave of PR coverage and social buzz that helped to exceed sales goals by 50%.

“Creativity is driven by staying authentic to your brand and your mission.” – Loren Angelo

CMO Loren Angelo is not shy about sharing the success Audi of America has enjoyed on the sales front, pointing to 45 consecutive monthly sales records and elevating brand opinion and consideration by over 30 percent since 2006.  This growth is the result of bringing “smart, entertaining creative to market” like using Snapchat during the Super Bowl to launch the A3, which it continued via a partnership with “Pretty Little Liars.” Loren is not afraid to experiment with new channels, even if the ROI is not readily measurable, noting that, “Creativity comes in the message as well as the medium in which it’s delivered.” To drive the point home, Loren concludes, “Building the brand with time-starved, affluent Americans requires us to bring unique ideas to a variety of channels.”

“If only marketing were a science.” – Drew Neisser

Having interviewed over 150 senior marketers in the last 5 years, I have come to appreciate the fact that marketing is not a “one size fits all” profession.  Each CMO faces a unique set of challenges and must blend the right mix of elements to achieve the desired results. Some of these elements are quite scientific ranging from Befriending Data to Marketing Automation, CRM to Email Efficacy.  Others like Storytelling, Pure Creativity, Going Viral and Social Purpose require more of an artistic touch. All of these “elements” are covered in The CMO’s Periodic Table along with 56 more, not the least of which is Setting Expectations, the lead chapter featuring my interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett who requires no introduction on this site. And with that, here’s to hoping you pull together all the right elements for your marketing challenge in 2016!

Founder and CEO of Renegade, the NYC-based marketing agency that helps CMO’s find innovative ways to cut through, Drew is a recognized authority on cutting-edge marketing techniques, having won numerous awards for creativity and campaign effectiveness. Ranked among Brand Quarterly’s “50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50,” he is an “expert blogger” for Forbes, CMO.com and TheCMOclub among others, pens the weekly CMO Spotlight column for AdAge and is the author of TheCut, a well-respected monthly newsletter.

The Truth: Performance Review Transformation is Not Over

By: Wally Hauck

“Wisdom is found only in truth.” – Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

It is difficult to find the truth especially in complex situations.  It can be elusive. It is often influenced by changes in our environment.  It can shift dramatically when we change how we think about the problems we are seeking to solve.  For example, some advertisements for cigarettes in the 1950 made claims that smoking was safe.  Some claimed even doctors enjoyed them without concern, they could keep you slim, and/or they could help relieve your asthma symptoms.  Today, those messages would be considered lies.

Are performance reviews effective or not?  According to some research (SHRM) 58% of managers say no and of course 42% say yes.  Jack Welch still defends the forced ranking of employees using the performance review (rank-and-yank). Steve Ballmer at Microsoft “yanked” that policy out of Microsoft because a large percentage of employees claimed it was one of the worse policies on the planet for engagement and innovation.   Who’s right? It depends!  How you think about people, problems, and the root cause of poor performance will influence your answer. 

There is a transformation occurring in the performance review process now.  Many large organizations are the early adopters of that transformation.  These include Adobe, GE, Deloitte, Google, and a few others.  Still nearly 85% of organizations continue to use the typical performance review model.    Yet many of those are now motivated more than ever to consider a change.  According to a recent survey by Bersin, 70% of the organizations surveyed reported either recently changing their performance management system or were seriously considering it.

What’s the motivation to change?  It’s the usual reasons and some additional new ones too.  For some it’s the need for speed.  The truth: annual reviews just don’t allow people to respond to the accelerated change in the marketplace.  Customers’ needs and desires change frequently and employees must be in a position to respond. The annual typical review stymies an organization’s ability to respond.

Still others are interested in improving employee engagement.  The typical review is notorious for damaging engagement.  Ratings are often seen as biased or manipulated. This is especially true of forced ranking systems.  Yahoo is currently facing a law suit brought on by their forced ranking system. 

Still others have come to realize their corporate values are being contradicted by their typical performance review process.  The truth: this contradiction with values has damaged productivity of disgruntled employees who are receiving the mixed messages.

On a more practical note, some of these early adopters of the transformation have finally come to realize the internal costs of conducting the typical review.    The time spent by managers to “do them right” far outweighs the benefits.  This is especially true when one calculates the loss of engagement, loss of productivity, and damage to the speed of response to changing conditions.

But, there is one more reason to transform the typical review.  In my opinion this reason is the most compelling of all because it gets to the very heart of the root cause of the failure of the typical review.  All the other reasons are symptoms.      When one finds a root cause it’s time to celebrate because you know you are close to a breakthrough in performance improvement.  As Dorothy Thompson once said, “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.”  The truth: the typical review has the wrong focus.  Its focus is on individual improvement and not on the quality of interactions. The early adopters are still making this mistake.

There are two ways an employee can obtain feedback, interpersonal interactions and system interactions. Interpersonal interactions concern behavior which the employee has total control.  System interactions involve other factors outside the control of the individual.

In most organizations it is the employee’s manager who is formally responsible for giving feedback to the employee.  The truth: this is a manager dependent process that can contribute to a sluggish bureaucracy.  As mentioned earlier, one of the major complaints of the typical performance appraisal is that feedback occurs infrequently and that infrequent feedback damages employee engagement which damages performance.  Why can’t everyone be allowed and/or obligated to give feedback when appropriate?  Few of the transformations allow feedback from anyone including co-workers.

Employees need to understand how their behavior impacts the performance of others. Every employee needs to behave with respect and integrity at all times or performance suffers.  Interpersonal interactions enable people to communicate with each other effectively as long as it is with integrity and respect.  When people are disrespectful they need to realize it and they need to change and they need to know immediately.  When they break integrity they need to know it and they need to change and they need to know immediately. 

Managers can influence the quality of the interpersonal interactions.  They can make them easier or harder. They can make them functional or dysfunctional.  When an employee’s behavior is discussed the influence of managers must be discussed as well.  The truth:  the transformation continues to point mostly in one direction i.e. toward the employee.  Few of the transformations encourage feedback to the manager from the employee.

System interactions, the second type of feedback, provide information about how well employees are working with their processes.  Employees influence their processes but they don’t control all the inputs.  The quality of the inputs to their processes will influence their performance.  An organization must recognize this and enable employees to communicate immediately when the inputs are not optimal. The current transformations are not clarifying this.

Employees should be able to receive frequent feedback from their processes.  Their manager and co-workers may need to give them feedback on the quality of their interpersonal interactions but feedback from the processes should not be fully dependent upon the employee’s manager.  The employee, if they understand how to study a process, can arrange to collect their own data.  The transformations are not addressing this concern. 

The truth: the transformation continues to focus on individual performance instead of the quality of the interactions therefore the transformation is not yet over.  I am hopeful the transformation continues to evolve in this direction otherwise performance improvement will continue to suffer and frustrations will continue.

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal.  Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.   Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP.  Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.

Executive Briefings: Intersection of Leadership and Social Media

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently sat down with Rob Harles, Head of Social Business & Collaboration at Accenture Interactive. Rob joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide.

As a leader in social media for a long time, both at Bloomberg and now Accenture, what changes do you see in what expectations customers have of companies?

Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. Social has acted as a catalyst for people to express their views, support, lack of support for brands, and what they expect brands to do, to live up to their promise. Only ten to fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have been able to do that. Brands were lucky enough to be able to tell you what they stood for and hope you believed it. Now you have to prove it, and social is acting as that catalyst.

We call it the ultra-transparency situation, and it affects how companies engage with customers. How would you describe this phenomena?

The phenomenon with social is really about people wanting to feel that they matter, and they want to be able to express that. It’s been around since the dawn of time, when we were just a nation of shopkeepers. As we grew and had to come to terms with the challenges of scaling businesses, we got more and more distant from our customers. The result was that we had to do standalone market research at a set point in time just to see where people’s needs or demands were going or how they felt about us. Now that’s changed. It’s 24/7. They’re telling you exactly what they need. They’re telling you exactly how they feel. Sometimes they’re telling you the extremes of that because there is less of a filter.

What do you see in the next five years? How is social media going to change as a medium, and how is it going to change the way we do business?

The advantage of real-time information is that we are addressing people’s issues faster. We are being more responsive. Organizations and brands are using the insights that come out of social to improve themselves, and that’s a good thing. But with that always comes challenges. This is where organizations go off the rails. At Accenture Digital, what we’re seeing is that companies are almost too ready to take data and do something with it and not really think about the implications. Also, it comes with the challenge of where do you draw the demarcation line in terms of privacy? How do you think about protecting the rights of your employees or the rights of your customers? There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a headline about something like this. It’s creating great opportunities on the one hand, but it’s also creating a lot of challenges in terms of sensitivity and the law. Eventually we find our path. Eventually we figure out the right way to do something and sometimes we only do that by making mistakes. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are actually quite precious, but it still makes us better.

Let’s shift gears. As a leader, what are the traits that you most admire in other leaders?

Everybody is different. That’s the thing that I’ve recognized, and good leaders recognize that. We’re a little bit more open than we’ve ever been and don’t self-edit as much. Great leaders are ones who have a vision and are willing to be tenacious enough to drive that forward. An example would be if you say you want to have an innovative culture. It’s another thing to actually create an innovate culture. Great leaders are ones who are a little more flexible than they’ve ever been, but have great vision and can really motivate people to bring more than what they’re just asked to do. It’s like a puppy dog scenario. I love it when people come to me and they have an idea, it might not be a perfect idea, but it’s a start. They’re thinking. The worst situation is where you stifle that.

Along your way to becoming the leader that you are today, who has inspired you, and what about them inspired you?

I have to pay homage to some of the great thinkers and entrepreneurs that we’ve had in just the last few decades. Whether it’s Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Steve Wozniak and many more. In so many ways they represent the unique American spirit of trying to do something that no one has done before. It’s high risk. I admire the people who are the unsung heroes who have tried something and it hasn’t worked. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re really honest, will tell you, “So much of our success is built not just on hard work or creativity.” But their little secret is luck and being able to see it and take advantage of it and run with it. Not everyone has that luck, but they have all the other things. Sometimes those unsung heroes drive us forward through the missed opportunities and the failures just as much as those who we venerate. I like to see people, generally, who try things and are okay with failing and picking themselves up, learning from it, and moving to the next thing.

Difficult Doesn’t Have to Be So Difficult: How to Turn Challenging Conversations into Trusting Relationships at Work

By Judith E. Glaser

No one could believe it – Radio Shack let thousands of people go and they did it through email!  Most people dislike delivering bad news in person, and will find any way to avoid it.

Making eye contact with another person who you care about, and with whom you need to deliver a difficult message – probably creates disappoint, upset or hurt – and is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do. So, rather than confronting these challenges, we often take too many alternatives which at the time seem to be less challenging or hurtful but later turn out to cause more pain.

Discussing/Delivering/Moving Through Bad News

Clouding the Issue

Two years ago I was asked to coach a CEO who was one of 6 reporting to a chairman. The difficult message the chairman wanted to give the leaders was that if she didn’t raise the performance of her team she would be asked to leave. Rather than giving that message, the chairman wrote a 6 page report that provided feedback and 98% was about how good the leader was. Embedded in the document were 2-3 lines, which briefly stated that the chairman expected a higher level of performance from the leader. When I asked the leader what this document communicated to her and what she would do as a result, she said she was doing everything right and therefore was on the right track for her bonus.

Failing to be candid with others is one of the largest reasons why people ultimately leave companies. When we think we are doing the right things, we keep doing them. When key messages are embedded into larger messages, they get lost, are “sandwiched in” which means we can easily discount them or deal with them as less important.

Candor is Golden 

People do care about outcomes, but they care more about the processes that produce those outcomes. People want to know where they stand and why. If there is a difficult message they need to hear, employees would prefer to know the truth rather than a watered down or clouded version of it.

Candor supersedes fluff in situations where truth is the medicine needed. Fear of telling a person they have failed, or are about to be fired, or they didn’t make the cut are realities in life. We all know this. Yet we do more harm to an individual by trying to soft pedal our way through a difficult conversation.  When people are candid with us – and do it in a caring way – we are open to building trust with them – it’s as simple as that.

Turning Difficult Conversations into Trusting Relationships at Work

How should a leader address customers; shareholders; the press; employees? Are there different components of the message that should be shared with one group and not another? Who needs what type of information? Most of all, how can you set the context for difficult not to be so difficult. The best strategy is to be specific and clear about what is happening, rather than clouding the message with hyperbole.

  • Unmet Expectations: Most difficult messages come from a very common origin. Unmet expectations. I failed to deliver the results you expected. You failed to deliver the results I expected. It is difficult because it contains embarrassment and disappointment – two things human beings dislike the most. It is a social embarrassment and when this is the core of the context, then people want to deflect the message, minimize it, blame others, avoid it – or any other tactic they can think of.Every difficult message has some dynamics that are unique to the situation. And each group of people may have different messages that are required to share, however there are a few things in common with all. These are all people – and in each case they are important relationships that you want to preserve and sustain even thought the message you need to discuss or deliver is different.
  • If you don’t care about the relationship then you can say anything you want. In this case you can “data dump” or get the situation off your chest and act mindlessly about how you say it. Sometimes this can be venting or letting it all out if the issue is about your relationships with them.
  • Caring: However in most other cases, if your goal is to share something that is considered “difficult” and you want to sustain the relationship, you need to set the context for a sustained relationship up front so the person knows that this may be difficult for both of you… and that you care about them regardless of how difficult the message will be.
  • Candor: In addition you want to be explicit and honest about what you are sharing. Candor communicates respect, and that is what people want most. Not candor that looks like blame, or anger, but candor that looks like the real truth…

Example:  Failure to Deliver Results on Your End
For example, your company failed to make its numbers this quarter and it’s because of a delay in the launch of a product. There will be an impact on stock price, or deliveries, on employee bonuses – so the impact is across the board with employees, shareholders, press and even customers. Identify where the impacts lie, take responsibility for the event, ask people to accept your apology, explain your new strategy for making it better, and asking for their on going support or help in any way that is needed.

Understand How to Address Fears, Concerns, and Worries:

  • Triggering:    ‘Feared Implications’

Very often just the thought of having a difficult conversation causes anxiety and fear. Our minds quickly create a movie of what might happen, and our minds are quick to imagine the worst. I call this ‘feared implications.’ Feared implications are the worst-case scenarios, and when our minds imagine the worst, the neurochemistry of fear takes over. The clinical name for this is Amygdala Hijack, named after the part of the brain, which is the seat of fear.

  • Priming:
    Do have the conversation in person
    whenever you can. When you talk with someone face-to-face, it primes the way for an honest and caring exchange and it does make a difference. People experience a great level of trust and openness when they see someone face-to-face and see the look in their eyes of caring and concern for their well being.
  • Refocusing & Redirecting:
    Do focus on outcomes
    and especially those that may be good or better for the person down the road. A person receiving bad news will be focusing on the loss and you want them to focus on how to use this situation to grow and to gain something better than what they had before. Redirect and refocus them on how to use this situation as an opportunity for change and growth.
  • Reframing:
    Do focus on development and growth not punishment and blame.
    Most people feel shame and embarrassment when something goes wrong. When you reframe a discussion from ‘criticism’ to ‘development’ it shifts the person from thinking, “I was bad” to “here are new ways to be successful.” This creates a new energetic shift in their brain from the fear state to being open to learn something new. The Heart-Prefrontal Cortex will start working together and become in sync to create a healthy state of mind – open to learn.
  • Co-creating:
    Fear closes down conversations. When the boss is afraid to talk, it amplifies the fear and feared implications. Instead, be open to discussing the impact and implications of the news. People will always say after the fact, that when a leader was open to discussion, it makes them feel that the difficult news was palatable. They feel if the process of exchange is fair and open, with candor, respect and caring, then they can accept the news. Also, if there is dialogue they may come up with other ways of handling the situation that had not been revealed before.

Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Chairman of the Creating WE Institute, Organizational Anthropologist, and consultant to Fortune 500 Companies and author of four best- selling business books, including Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion). Visit www.conversationalintelligence.com; www.creatingwe.com; email jeglaser@creatingwe.com or call 212-307-4386.

The Humor Advantage: Five Keys to Effectively Using Humor That Can Help You Laugh All the Way to the Bank.

Can more funny equal more money? Without question. There truly is a bottom-line advantage to leveraging your humor resources and branding your business with humor. Here are five guiding principles to help you and your business laugh all the way to the bank.

1. First, Do No Wrong

Great advice for doctors or would-be corporate jesters. Make sure the humor you use in your branding laughs with people, not at people. Laugh at yourself, not in a, “I’m a loser” kind of way, but in a way that lets people know you don’t take yourself overly seriously. Stay clear of political, ethnic, gender or sex-based humor. Remember that having permission to use more humor at work is not permission to act like a jerk. It doesn’t give you license to offend or humiliate people, or disparage their character. It’s about being more human, having a bigger heart, and demonstrating greater humility.

The number one fear corporate clients express about using humor at work is that it will invite all manner of obnoxious behaviors eventually leading to lawsuits. Yet, companies such as the Las Vegas based online shoe retailer Zappos, that embrace an enormous amount of fun and humor in their workplace, rarely – if ever – experience anyone crossing the proverbial humor line. Why? Because the style of humor employees use reflects their culture. If you create a respectful workplace culture, as Zappos has done, then the humor will remain respectful.

2. Be Authentic

Humor can break down barriers and build trust, provided the humor used creates and reflects authenticity. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “The whole object of comedy is to be yourself. The closer to that you get, the funnier you will be.” This applies at a corporate level as well. Customers are savvier than ever and more cynical than ever. They’ll see through half-hearted attempts at humor that seem to be nothing more than manipulative and insincere window dressing. The need for authenticity applies to leaders and employees as well.

The Canadian airline WestJet, modelled after Southwest Airlines, understands the importance of authentic humor. As with Southwest Airlines, flight attendants and pilots at WestJet Airlines are encouraged to bring their personalities to work and to use humor when delivering announcements, but with one large caveat: Be your authentic self. The last thing WestJet wants (or their passengers, for that matter) is a flight attendant pretending to be funny or feeling forced to sing a rap song when they aren’t comfortable doing so. But allowing employees to be their authentic selves and use their own style of humor while delivering great service is what has helped WestJet and Southwest Airlines soar to success.

3. Be Congruent With Your Brand

The humor you use at a corporate level must fit your style. It needs to be congruent with your brand. if you have a classy brand, then your humor, for the most part, should be classy. If you want to be known as an edgy company, then use edgy humor.

Kentucky’s Big Ass Fans, for example, uses a fair amount of edgy humor on its website, which seems appropriate given their name (even though the ass they speak of is a donkey). Their name generates controversy, which Big Ass Fans uses to their advantage by including some of the hate mail they receive on the kudos section of their website. They even have a hilarious video that pokes fun at the entire controversy. It’s edgy humor befitting a company that has embraced an edgy name, but the humor they get away with wouldn’t be appropriate for a more family-friendly or conservative business. Make sure the humor you use contributes to and reflects the brand image you want to project.

4. Be Relevant

The more the humor you use at your workplace is relevant to your business, the more memorable and effective it will be. Humor for the sake of humor can be a fabulous tool, but relevant humor that ties into your unique challenges, issues, products, local attractions, branding, and industry is far more effective.

The Dirty Laundry winery is one of my favorite wineries in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The name comes from an historic Summerland laundry that reportedly housed a brothel, earning the business the nickname “The Dirty Laundry”. It’s a playful, fun name that invites a lot of humor – and the key to their branding success is that they keep the humor relevant to their name and theme. So the winery’s logo features a red-hot iron with images of women in the steam; their tagline reads: “The Okanagan’s Dirty Little Secret”. Their newsletter is called Laundry Lines, and their welcome sign resembles a giant sheet hanging on a clothesline. The entrance gate posts are giant clothes pegs. The tasting room/gift shop is reminiscent of an old-fashioned bordello (not that I’d know what one looks like) complete with lingerie strewn about the display cases. They sell products such as pink stiletto wine bottle holders. And of course their wine names include such gems as, “A Secret Affair,” “Naughty Chardonnay,” and “A Girl in Every Port.” Even the descriptions of the wine are playfully suggestive.

The more relevant the humor, the more likely it is to reinforce and strengthen your brand, your image, and your products.

5. Embrace a Spirit of Fun

Beryl Health is a call center company that has built a wildly successful business with an employee turnover rate that’s the envy of their competitors. The key to their success has been to focus relentlessly on nurturing a positive and fun culture. Who, after all, wouldn’t want to work in a company where the human resources manager has the alternative job title The Queen of Fun and Laughter? Beryl embraces a fun culture that starts at the very top, with CEO Paul Spiegelman. And yet, Spiegelman admits to being an introvert, and not a particularly funny person. “I’ve come to learn that it’s not about being funny, but about encouraging and creating a culture that embraces a spirit of fun.”

Ultimately, using humor effectively to brand your business is about embracing a spirit of fun rather than trying to be funny. Embracing a spirit of fun suggests a lightness, a willingness to play, and a spirit of inclusiveness.

Michael Kerr is an international business speaker who travels the world researching, writing, and speaking about inspiring workplace cultures and the use of humor in business to drive success. His latest book is called, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Commercial Cards Modernize the Payments Process and Enhance Supplier Relationships

Our competitive and global business climate requires C-level executives to maintain visibility into spending and constantly look for ways to make every dollar count. A payment strategy that relies on electronic payments is an important first step. As part of that strategy, you can take advantage of commercial card program benefits to drive down costs, forecast cash flow, optimize liquidity opportunities, and enhance valuable supplier relationships.

Consider that 50% of payables are still paper-based1 and each check costs, on average, $30 per item to process and handle.2   Commercial cards can be used not only for purchasing and expenses, but inventory and capital expenditures as well. 

“Progressive leaders looking to improve process efficiencies, cash visibility, and forecasting, recognize that making the relatively simple move toward using commercial cards is the logical solution for payments.”

–Ranjana Clark, Head of Transaction Banking, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Download White Paper:

Learn more about transformative ePayables strategies: download the MUFG Commercial Cards white paper here.

About MUFG:
MUFG Union Bank, N.A. is a member of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), one of the world’s leading financial institutions. Learn more about our
Commercial Card program at mufgamericas.com/commercial-cards

Contact a MUFG ePayables specialist at 214-468-7829 or visit mufgamericas.com/commercialcards for more information.

1Electronic Payments Survey, Association of Financial Professionals, 2013.

2 Ibid.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about commercial card and is not considered advice from MUFG and MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

© 2016 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The MUFG logo and name is a service mark of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

 

Want To Be A More Effective Leader? Listen

By John T. Hewitt, CEO and Founder of Liberty Tax Service

When it comes to communication, no one gets it right. It’s an essential part of every relationship, whether it’s a marriage, a partnership, a business, or an employer and employee. I don’t care if you have a Ph.D. in communications; I’ve never met a person who consistently listens or gets their message across. Even if you’re close and you try, things are taken out of context or misheard or misstated. Communication is something that no company and probably no couple have ever mastered.

Here’s the problem: human beings are communication stoppers. Every person I know wants to receive communication – they want to know everything – but they don’t give communication back. Information is power and people will hoard it. Whether or not it’s going to the trouble to say something or simply remembering to communicate at all, our desire to get information is greater than our desire to give it. There is no solution to our constant communication dilemma, but we can work at improving every day.

As an entrepreneur, you can never make assumptions. If you are not in direct contact with your customers on a daily basis, you have to communicate with the person who is. Successful business owners must listen to their employees. Those in authority need to pay attention to the troops on the ground.

Our Chief Marketing Officer, Martha O’Gorman, and I once flew to Kansas City to interview a person for the CFO position. Martha asked, “What is your management philosophy?” He replied, “Ours is not to reason why, but to do or die.” In his world, all orders come from above and you are not supposed to question them. Just do it, like a good soldier. That is how many companies run. Many CEOs issue edicts and say, “this is what we’re going to do,” instead of listening to the people who deal with the customer because they think they know best. It’s partly because they feel if they admit that they don’t know best, then they look inferior or won’t be perceived as a good CEO, so they just don’t listen.

I’m secure enough in my leadership to listen to employees. They are the boots on the ground and they know what the customer really wants. Whether it’s a higher level of service, kid-friendly offices, or refreshments, I listen. For example, we print out a letter that we give to every customer with their tax return. Why would I think I could do that better than the person who gives it out thousands of times? They give out two million letters with tax returns. Why would a CEO think he could create a better letter than the people who are closest to the customer? They should design the letter; we should just implement it. There are hundreds of issues like this.

In my company, I know the big picture better than anyone, but my franchisees and employees know the tools they need to exceed customer expectations. A good CEO will trust employees to make the right decisions – empowering them instead of just issuing automatic edits that they must follow. To succeed, employees must feel free to make suggestions and give advice to their managers without concern for retribution. Remember, humans are communication stoppers. The managers who listen the most – and listen well – to their employees will win.

While I still believe that no one really masters communication, we work to improve every day and set the standard. I regularly teach the importance of improving every day in the way we communicate to our customers, to our employees, and to our owners. Customers come first – always. Words aren’t the only communication that a client notices. An employee’s attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures are all part of the message, leading to either positive or negative results. At Liberty, an important part of our system is to call each client within 24-48 hours of completing a return. We ask for feedback on our service and they can offer any suggestions to help us improve. Most importantly, we listen.

Excerpted from:

iCompete: How My Extraordinary Strategy for Winning Can Be Yours, by John T. Hewitt, CEO and founder of Liberty Tax Service, available on Amazon March 29, 2016

How to Bring Out the Best of Your Leadership Style

How to Bring Out the Best of Your Leadership Style

by Tony Alessandra

If you are part of the C-Suite, you should be very aware of your leadership style to allow you to work more effectively with your direct reports and transform from being just a boss into a true leader.

However, before you do that, you will need to identify your leadership style. I espouse using the DISC behavioral model. DISC is an acronym for the four primary behavioral drivers: dominance, influence, conscientiousness, and steadiness.

Dominant people are decisive risk-takers who speak boldly and confidently. Influence driven people are apt to intertwine emotion with work and they are interested in forming social bonds. Steady individuals are cooperative and composed and approach their work consistently and methodically. People with a bent towards conscientiousness prioritize accuracy and precision and tend to me more guarded and tactful in their expression.

You can also self-identify yourself based on two questions:

  • Are you more open (emotive) or guarded (controlled)?
  • Are you more direct (faster-paced) or indirect (slower-paced)?

Based on your answers, you can find your primary DISC style:

D – Direct and guarded

I – Direct and open

S – Indirect and open

C – Indirect and guarded

Once you have found your DISC style, you can begin making your leadership style more palatable to others who might not share your behavioral type. Here are some ways a leader can round off some of the sharper edges of his or her DISC style:

 

If you are a DOMINANT DIRECTOR…

Ratchet down a notch or two! Keep in mind that others have feelings and that your hard-charging, know-it-all style can make others feel inadequate and resentful.

Accept that mistakes will occur and try to temper justice with mercy. You might even joke about errors you make, rather than trying to always project a super-human image.

Encourage growth in others in at least two ways: by praising employees when they do something well and by giving direct reports a measure of authority and then staying out of their way so they can use it. Whatever you lose in control, you are likely to gain in commitment and improved staff competency.

If you are an INFLUENCING SOCIALIZER…

Your people depend on you not just for ideas, which you are very adept at generating, but also for coordination, which you are probably less comfortable providing. So anything you can do to become more organized — making lists, keeping your calendar current, prioritizing goals — will pay big dividends for both you and your team.

Nothing’s so dispiriting as to see the boss drop the ball on important matters. So, remember: if you fail to follow-up, procrastinate on tough decisions, or make pledges you don’t keep, your employees will lose faith. Even though you don’t do those things purposely, your direct reports will feel as if you’re letting them down. Your charm and warmth can’t compensate for unreliability.

Also, come to grips with the fact that conflicts are going to occur. Try to deal with them up front instead of sweeping them under the rug. In addition, strive to keep your socializing in balance with your tasks.

If you are a STEADY RELATER…

You are probably a well-liked leader. Your goal should be to become a more effective well-liked leader.

Learn to stretch a little, taking on more small risks or different duties and trying to accomplish them more quickly. You may want to be more assertive as well as more open about your thoughts and feelings.

Being sensitive to your employees’ feelings is one of your greatest strengths, but you must seek a middle ground between that and being knocked off balance by the first negative comment or action that comes your way. Try to develop a thicker skin for the good of the team.

If you are a CONSCIENTIOUS THINKER…

Your high standards are a double-edged sword. Your employees are inspired by your quest for excellence, but they might feel frustrated because they can never quite seem to please you.

One of the best things you can do is lessen and soften your criticism, spoken or unspoken. Bear in mind that you’re inclined to come off as stern in certain situations.

Ease up on your need to control and attempt to project a more social persona. Walk around and spend more time with the troops, chatting up people at the water cooler or in the lunchroom.

Realize the fact that you can have high standards without requiring perfection in each instance.

Whatever your style, being adaptable can help you to build bridges to your employees and make them feel valued. By learning to best respond to their interests, concerns, strengths and weaknesses, you can get the most from your people as well as leave them more satisfied.

Executive Briefings: Engage and Empower Your People to Ignite Sales, the Barefoot Spirit

Executive Briefings is an online event with a similar kind of context that C-Suite has for physical events. During one of our recent Briefings, Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan of Barefoot Wine joined us to discuss how to engage and empower your employees with a sales centric culture.

Barefoot Wine is currently a top global brand. It’s become known as the Levi Strauss of American wine. But it represents a lot more than just a wine label. It truly represents success. Success of a small start-up team that began in the laundry room and wound up in the board room of one of the world’s largest wine companies. Starting with no money and no knowledge of their industry, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey bootstrapped a novelty brand into a top global icon. Doesn’t happen very often, and they did it. Relying on an entrepreneurial culture, they overcame formidable challenges in a highly competitive and controlled wine industry. They received the industry’s coveted Trend Setter, Fast Track Growth Brand, and Hot Brand awards for a number of years. They took this experience and created the New York Times Best Seller, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book details the journey into success – from a humble beginning to a nationwide blockbuster brand.

Since selling the company to E&J Gallo, Michael and Bonnie have been actively sharing their expertise. They’re speaking internationally. They’re corporate trainers. They’re contributors to many publications like Forbes, Inc., Investor’s Daily, and others. They’ve delivered keynotes at the World Conference on Entrepreneurship in Dublin, and at our own C-Suite Conference in Marina Del Ray in 2014. They’ve recently released a new book, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. They offer several online courses, including “Skyrocket Sales and Engagement,” and “Spend Less-Monetize Faster with the Entrepreneur’s GPS”

First off, I’d like to ask how you both got into a business that you didn’t know anything about?

MH: Well, you know they say follow your passion, but we followed our opportunity passionately. It’s a little bit different. Bonnie had a client who wasn’t getting paid for his grapes. He was a grape-grower in the Sonoma County wine country of California. She said, “Maybe you can help?” I went over to the large winery that owed the grower for his grapes, which is now called Francis Ford Coppola Winery. When I got there, they had just declared bankruptcy. Meaning, they didn’t have to pay their creditors.

As I’m there and looking around, I see a row of tanks and a big bottling machine. I say, “Hey, wait a minute. If you guys can’t pay us in cash, what do you think about giving us wine in bulk and bottling services to pay off the debt?” And they said, “Great!” I went back to Bonnie, and I told her that I thought I had got it settled. However, this was a big debt to pay off. But now all we have is wine and bottling services. And she says:

BH: Well, now we’ve got a different kind of a problem. How do we turn this wine and bottling services into cash so we can pay the bills? That’s how Michael and I got in to this fix to start with. The grower was unable to take over another business. He had a full-time job as a wine-maker, in addition to having about 100 acres of vineyard. Michael and I kind of looked at each other and said, “I guess we’ll do it then!” Ignorance is bliss! We had no idea what we were getting in to.

I’ve backed myself into these kinds of things in the past, and it’s very educational. You’re breaking in to a business that’s highly controlled. It’s got a structure that everybody says, “Well this is just the way things are,” and you guys were able to break out of that, because you didn’t follow the rules. How did you step back and find a new approach that nobody else was doing?

BH: Well, first of all, we didn’t know the rules. That’s a good place to start, as it turned out. We went out and started asking a lot of questions. We asked questions of everyone on the production end. We asked people in the retail end, the buyers. We went out and asked consumers. We kind of put together a plan from really more the consumer outlook rather than production outlook.

Also, you looked at your customer being the person who is consuming the wine, not the person who was distributing the wine. A lot of people look at the distribution side, rather than going all the way to the end and the customer themselves, right?

MH: Right. We realized that we weren’t going to get to that customer unless we understood what the distributor wanted, and of course, everybody in the distribution channel wants a different thing, and none of it has to do with wine. However, the end user has a lot to do with wine, and price, and value, so to create that customer experience at the end user, we had to understand the distribution system. We did what we call “make friends in low places.” We talked to fork-lift operators. We talked to truckers. We talked to people who stock shelves in grocery stores. These are not necessarily the white collar folks that you would think you would go to for information. But what we learned is what was really happening in the real world at the street level. And because we did, we were able to put a package and a product together that got through the distribution system to the general public, and stayed in stock, which is really important.

Well you had some innovations on the distribution side to make it easy to assure the right product was in the right place. What did you do there?

MH: The main thing in retail distribution is that you’re only as good as your stock. If you’re selling a real product and it’s sold in retail, it has to be in stock. The worst customer experience is they love your product, but it’s out of stock. We had a situation in Minnesota where we couldn’t understand why we were consistently getting missed deliveries. We flew there, and we found out that it wasn’t stocked in the store even though it was authorized.

So we went to the distributor and asked why the product wasn’t delivered. We heard replies like, “That’s not our problem. That must be Ed. He’s in the back room. You have to go talk to him.” So we go to the warehouse, and we talk to Ed. He says, “No, you have to talk to Joey. He comes at midnight. He runs the forklift, and he picks the products off of the shelves in the warehouse to ship out to the retailers.”

I waited until midnight to talk to Joey. He says, “Get up on that forklift!” I said, “Okay” and I got up. He says, “What do you see?” I said, “Well, I see a big warehouse.” He says, “What do you think about the lighting?” I said, “It’s terrible. I can’t see anything.” He says, “That’s right. Read the label on that box over there.” I said, “Well, I can’t read it. Do you want us to make the labels larger?” He says, “No. Why don’t you make each box of each type of product that you have a different color. The whole box a different color.”

And so we color coded everything at Barefoot, and it not only reduced our missed deliveries and increased our in-stocks, but it also was a lot of fun. Each retail store would build lots of colorful stacks with our new boxes.

It seems like this might be a place where you saw that everybody who is on the street, from the forklift operator to the person delivering the stuff, is critical in the customer conversation. You created a culture within Barefoot that was very different. Let’s talk about the culture you created out of these experiences you had, and how it was different.

BH: We believed that the pyramid structure that most companies are in, really didn’t work because you’ve got the CEO and the VP on top and everyone else is below them and they take orders from the top. Well, we really wanted to support our customer, and we said, “How can you put the customer on top, when you put sales on the bottom?”

We thought, instead of having this pyramid structure, we would have a two-division company. The two-division company puts the customer on top, followed by sales, and everyone who is not in sales was in the sales-support division. So the accountant, everyone in production, the receptionist, the vice president, and even the president are all in sales-support. That was our main difference. That’s how we really distinguished ourselves as a company, was through the two-division company. The two divisions are sales and sales-support.

In order for that really to work, the sales division had to tell marketing and production the feedback that they were getting from customers. They were in touch with customers on a daily basis, and they knew what was going on at the retail level and the distribution level. Those two are our customers: the retailer and the distributor. They would get that information back to our company, and we would respond in production and marketing. That’s how we put the customer on top.

That’s interesting. How do you have a conversation with an accountant, or a receptionist, or somebody who’s in tech support, and explain to them that they are now sales-support? How do you help them see the picture of how that all works?

MH: We had a real situation where our accountant was giving us a lot of push back and saying, “Hey, I’m an accountant. I crunch numbers. I belong to the accounting association. I go to the accounting events. I’m an accountant. I don’t have anything to do with sales. How can I possibly affect sales?” We said, “You’re going to figure it out because your bonus is going to be based on sales.”

Sure enough, our salesperson gets an appointment with Mr. Big down in Florida for a big chain store. It comes at 5:00 at night for 8:00 the next morning. The guy has no time to prepare. He tells the accountant, “I need these numbers to prove to this buyer tomorrow morning at 8 that we’re selling like crazy in the surrounding states, and we need him to jump on the bandwagon. What can you do for me?” It’s 6:00 in the morning, and our salesperson had all of those numbers on his computer, and he was able to review them, print them out, and put a presentation together. He made the sale at 8:00. That’s an example of how somebody as obscure as an accountant can affect sales. Now, in a normal pyramid structure, the accountant would say, “Hey, did this go through proper channels? I’ve got it in my inbox, and I’ll get to it in a week or two, but I’ve got other priorities.” In other words, he doesn’t take a real interest in sales, per se. He’s more interested in getting his workload done. Our accountant stayed up all night to get those numbers to him.

I see how when you build a culture from the ground up, which is what you did with Barefoot, you’re able to bring this perspective because you’re creating the mindset from the ground up. What about a company that’s a traditional company? It’s got the pyramid structure. How do you help them see why this is valuable, and more importantly, how do you help them transition from the current structure to one of the two-division company structure?

MH: There’s quite a few ways to do it. I think the simple answer is they have to formalize communications between sales and customer service to marketing and production. A lot of pyramid structures like to tell you that sales is part of marketing, but marketing is actually in the corporate building and sales is outside. There’s this physical division in culture between the people you see at lunch and the people that come in once a month. We think that one of the things that you can do besides having these formal connections between these departments within the pyramid silo structure is the money map.

BH: The real idea of the money map is to help new hires understand where the money that goes into their paychecks, their bonuses and all their benefits comes from. So they don’t come to you and say, “Well I’ve been here for two years. I want a raise.” The way you get a raise is you increase the amount of money that goes into the pot that goes to everybody’s salary and benefits. And that’s why we created the money map. So no one thought we had a big pile of money in the back, and we’d just scoop it up and throw it in your trunk every month.

Now, I suppose that most of your audience already understands where the money comes from. The benefit that any company can have by creating their own money map is to let the new hires understand where the money comes from. It comes from the end-user, which is in the community in our case. You have the customer who is going shopping. Picking up her product. Giving her money to the clerk. Part of that money goes to overhead. Part of it goes to the wholesaler. Then the money comes in to our company. We’ve only got about half the money that the customer spent going into our company. Then we pay the suppliers, our overhead. We’ve got maybe a buck or less that goes into the big pot of everybody’s salary. If you want to increase that pot, you increase sales. I say if you want someone to do something, put a buck on it. People respond to money. This, the Money Map, is our way of showing you how you can put more bucks in your pocket, and that’s by getting more customers to buy your products.

MH: This money map is going to look different in every company. However, they say when the cement is wet you can move it with a trowel. When it gets hard you need a jackhammer. So you’ve got wet cement when you’re on-boarding people. The question is, what does the trowel look like? What are you giving people? Are you just saying, “Here’s the coffee. If you hurt yourself there’s forms in the office.” Is that your idea of orientation? Or, are you actually telling people all of the steps that your company’s product or service has to go through to get to the general public. A lot of companies say, “No, I’m B2B. This doesn’t affect me.” Well we were B2B. We sold to a wholesaler. We could have said that’s it. No – We found out if we didn’t sell to the retailer for the wholesaler, the wholesaler didn’t reorder. And if we didn’t sell to the general public for the retailer, then the retailer didn’t reorder. So even though we were B2B, we were actually B2B2C. I think that is the realization that you have to get across to your people when they’re hired. It gives them more appreciation for the steps involved, and then as they’re working in their job, they start to see how their job affects this whole supply chain.

It’s interesting because you talked about that from a marketing perspective. B2B or B2C. Those things are collapsing. It’s really B to whoever is in the customer chain. The whole customer chain from you to the person ultimately using this product is who you need to pay attention to. And you did something really innovative, and something around cause marketing which changed in some ways the game in the wine industry.

BH: When we began, we called it worthy cause marketing, because we started so long ago that there wasn’t really a name for what we were doing. We wanted to get the attention of the end users and make them aware of our products. The way we did this was by supporting worthy causes within their community – through local fundraisers and non-profit organizations that were raising funds. We wouldn’t just donate our product, but we would go there and help them set up. We would help them to bring in more clients by providing the non-profit information to the retailer. We could do that by putting signs on our bottles to alert the community about this non-profit organization or event that was taking place.

We would ask for things from the non-profit that cost the non-profit nothing. We would talk to their supporters about why we were supporting this cause, and where they could buy our product within that area. So that was of great interest to the retailer. The retailer appreciated that we were bringing in new shoppers. We’d go to a retailer and say, “There’s a non-profit event that’s taking place a couple blocks from here, and what we would like to do is put this sign that says where to buy Barefoot on the table so the supporters can pick it up. Would you like to be on this list?” The retailers said, “Yeah, I really do appreciate that non-profit, and I do want to be on that list so people can come in and buy the product.” We said, “Great! Where do you want the stack?” That enabled us to get more retailers to take our product.

You’re the epitome of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs don’t live by the rules. Entrepreneurs say, “I have a problem and I’ll find a solution. I don’t know how the solution is going to happen there, but we’ll find it out.” You guys continually, over and over again, kept running up against things that looked insurmountable, and you just kept working until you had a solution that worked for both parties.

MH: Yes, we kept going until we found a solution! If you go to www.barefootbonus.com, you are going to receive all the guides that we discussed during this presentation. You’re also going to receive six free chapters from our new book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. We actually wrote this book for this C-Suite. It is outtakes from our New York Times Best Seller, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. We said, let’s just synthesize that out, and put a book together that’s about as thick as one airplane ride so that the C-Suiters can read it and actually cut and paste these ideas into their own corporations. We’re offering, for free, six chapters. We think you’ll enjoy them. We talk about how to build this kind of entrepreneurial culture in a corporation. It’s not impossible, but it requires a different view of things. A different outlook.

*Visit www.barefootbonus.com to download the presentation from this Executive Briefings event.